Some might say that learning a little about football is not authentic for most gay men. They would argue that we're trying to "pass" as straight. I disagree -- American culture is infused with football references, and knowing just a little bit will be immensely helpful.
In the last few months, I've been asked to "quarterback" a team at work, and had somebody "call an audible" during a meeting. I was asked to carry a project "across the line," and I put together a "playbook" for a team I lead. Fortunately, I've watched just enough football to understand these analogies, thanks to our hometown team making the Superbowl two years in a row.
Knowing just a little bit about the sport allowed me to respond to these analogies, which are commonly used in business and team settings where other men are running the show. If you want to successfully interact with these guys, it will help to know just a little bit about football.
The good news is you don't have to be a superfan. I mix up safeties and guards all the time, and I still don't have a clue what a cornerback does, but that deep knowledge isn't necessary to have a basic conversation. (And, there's always google if I really need to know).
In addition to knowing basic football terminology, it's good to know a little about the hometown team. How did they do in the last game? How are they doing this season? Who are the team's stars?
You don't need to know the exact record for this year, and you certainly don't have to know how many interceptions somebody got in the 2011 season. But, knowing that your team is going up against their rival can be important to know. Having just a little bit of knowledge about current events can be an amazing ice breaker, and it's something that men are expected to know a little bit about.
If you want to learn more, the NFL has a great overview video. And, if you want somebody to break it down even more, the Football Wife has a series of videos that will help you get more out of the game. But, the best way to learn is to hang out with a buddy who knows the game. Just make sure he knows you're learning, and ask your questions during the commercials!
Sure, it might sound like this is an attempt to "pass" as a straight guy, but it's not. This tip is about relating to the other guys in our society, where 73% of American men watch at least part of one NFL game every week.
I'm a gay father with gay sons. My mission is to work with the community to prepare them -- and other young gay men -- for a happy and successful life.